How to obtain visas for business travel purposes
How to obtain visa’s for Business Travel Purposes
You’ve got your business meetings all set, confirmed a non changeable and non refundable flight ticket and now you have to obtain your visa ……. let’s hope that it doesn’t incur delays within the embassy or get rejected - which could be the catalyst in affecting all of your arrangements.
When it comes to visa applications – there is no room for carelessness or imprecision. All your planning and efforts in arranging important meetings with your overseas contacts can crumble if there is an error in your visa application, which results in the authorities rejecting your submission.
In this months article we have included a 3 step process of things to bear in mind when preparing your visa application.
1 ) Prior to confirming your flight arrangements
A traveler should ensure that they hold the correct entry documents for the country that they are visiting – prior to committing to any flight & hotel arrangements. It is in the planning stage, when a traveler is starting to research the flights etc. to a particular destination that one should investigate the visa and passport requirements that apply to their nationality for the designated country that they are visiting, in order to ensure that there is sufficient time to process a visa (if required) prior to travel.
- Passport validity - does your passport have enough validity? most countries require that a passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the completion of a trip
- Do you need a visa? Does the country that you are visiting require a visa for your Nationality in order for you to gain entry?
- What type of Visa? If the answer is yes to the above then you also need to ascertain the type of visa that you need to apply for, is a visa on arrival sufficient or due to the nature of your work commitments overseas do you need to apply for an official business visa? Transit visa regulations also change regularly and it is important to check whether a transit visa is required if you are passing through a foreign country.
- Previous Visa Stamps – some countries will deny entry if your passport contains previous visa stamps from certain countries. For example some Arab countries will deny entrance if your passport contains Israeli stamps.
- Processing time - consider the processing time that is required for the visa application, (including embassy closure dates for public holidays etc. ) in conjunction with plans that you have in place. Your passport will need to be surrendered whilst you are applying for a visa - so ensure that you do not have any mini breaks planned during the interim! If you are a frequent traveler you may like to consider applying for a second passport, to allow you to still travel whilst applying for visas.
2) You need a Visa – how do you apply and what supporting documents do you need?
You have completed the first hurdle – you know that you need a visa to travel, but what is the correct application form to use and are supporting documents required? - such as a letter of invitation or evidence of sufficient funds? Travelling to a new destination on business can be daunting and the process of applying for a Business Visa can be long winded. For example a medical certificate is mandatory for visa applications to Iraq, when applying for a Chinese visa a letter of invitation is required from the company to be visited in China - there are certainly many differing consular requirements to be aware of.
It is advisable for organisations to take correct measures to ensure that applications are approved as quickly as possible, to prevent unnecessary hold ups or delays.
- Visa Pre Check service – if you have an urgent visa application with a tight deadline, you can arrange for an expert to review all of your documents to check that your application is accurate, complete and ready for submission,
- Legalising supporting documents – Legalising supporting documents can be a complicated and confusing task if you don’t know how to do it. Each country has its own requirements and procedures depending on the document that is being legalised. You can arrange for a specialist who works in conjunction with official government agencies and embassies to check your application to provide assurance that your documents are properly legalised.
- Supporting Travel Documents – it can be arranged for a travel itinerary to be produced to aid your submission - without committing you to flight ticket arrangements.
- Digital Business Cover Letter - Some consulates and embassies require a personalised letter that demands significant preparation, specific wording, and detailed traveler information. It can be arranged for this complicated letter to be prepared for you with the exact information mandated by the consulate in the exact format that is required.
- Digital photo Service - does your photo adhere to the correct specifications?, it can be arranged for your photo to be uploaded and sent digitally to a photo service expert who will ensure that it meets the guidelines for the application prior to printing and submitting to the embassy.
- Expedite document collection and priority submission – avoid your staff spending valuable working hours queueing at embassy’s and utilise a priority submission service to ensure that your application is treated with the highest priority. This also ensures that your application is being sent to the correct address, for example the Indian High Commission do not accept any applications direct in the post, an initial order must be arranged in advance via the Indian High Commission website and the application must be sent to the specified application centre.
At last, your application has been accepted and you have the visa stamp in your passport, you can breathe a big sigh of relief and get on with planning your trip. Take a few moments to conduct a few measures to ensure the safety of your important documents in case they should get lost, damaged or stolen.
- Scan important documents to ensure that you have a digital copy of your important records – essential if you lose your passport. An encrypted copy can be digitally archived to allow you to travel with the assurance that you have access to your important documents at anytime and from anywhere in the world.
- Expiry dates – make a note of the expiry dates of your passport and visa’s and set reminders to ensure that your documents are always within validity – allowing you to travel at a moments notice.
- Advised traveler service – stay informed and stay safe by subscribing to Government Foreign Travel Advice email alerts – registration enables you to receive up to date travel advice regarding safety, security, entry requirements, travel warnings and health.
- Destination research – research the area you are visiting to ensure that you have knowledge concerning the local area, customs, business etiquette and medical facilities etc.
ACE Travel manages the travel polices, traveler safety issues and budgets for clients in both London and Essex and have a range of products and services to assist clients with their visa and passport applications.
For more information on ACE Travel Management, please visit www.acetravel.co.uk